Tutors for Toddlers

Anxious parents are trying to give their kids an academic edge before they even get to kindergarten

Hector Emanuel for TIME

3 year old Sanjana Rao learns numbers with tutor Lilian Yu at the Columbia West Kumon Center in Columbia, Maryland.

Call it kindercramming. These days one of the fastest-growing markets for after-school tutors is preschoolers and kindergartners, whose parents are hoping that if their kids learn to read before first grade, it will ultimately help them get into college and get good jobs. Anxious moms and dads are no longer satisfied with traditional nursery school, which many see as a glorified romper room that focuses too much on learning through play. And of course, after years of Baby Einstein marketing, some parents have become convinced that the more math and reading skills their tots master, the better. Srinivas Rao, a veterinarian...

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